Leaving aside what went terribly wrong with this Bloomberg News headline, there’s some actual news here about the Golden State Warriors owners’ plans to decamp Oakland’s Oracle Arena in 2018. As you may recall, the Warriors still owe $62 million on outstanding debt for the Oakland arena’s reconstruction in 1996, a debt that their lease says they can get out of if the arena ceases operations. Apparently, though, the team’s owners think they can just walk away from it regardless:
“We have every intention to completely fulfill our obligations in the agreement with the JPA and live up to the terms of the contract that were negotiated between the two parties,” Raymond Ridder, a team spokesman, said in a statement, referring to the joint powers authority. The team says it’s only obligated to pay debt service until the lease expires.
The arena’s county owners beg to differ, and according to the Oakland Tribune, “The lease states that if the Warriors leave before June 30, 2027, the team has to pay any debt service that is not covered by the arena’s net operating revenue as long as the arena remains open for business.” The Tribune further reports that the unpaid debt issue is likely to come up during negotiations for a lease extension to allow the Warriors to play in Oakland for the 2017-18 season until its new arena is ready; I really really hope that county officials have the gumption to say, “Pay us what you owe us, or we’ll see you in court. Enjoy your season in the Bill Graham Auditorium.”